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Development and Application of the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load Model

Published: October 01, 2013

The Phase 5.3 Watershed Model simulates the Chesapeake watershed land use, river flows, and the associated transport and fate of nutrient and sediment loads to the Chesapeake Bay. The Phase 5.3 Model is the most recent of a series of increasingly refined versions of a model that have been operational for more than two decades. The Phase 5.3 Model, in conjunction with models of the Chesapeake airshed and estuary, provides estimates of management actions needed to protect water quality, achieve Chesapeake water quality standards, and restore living resources. The Phase 5.3 Watershed Model tracks nutrient and sediment load estimates of the entire 166,000 km2 watershed, including loads from all six watershed states. The creation of software systems, input datasets, and calibration methods were important aspects of the model development process. A community model approach was taken with model development and application, and the model was developed by a broad coalition of model practitioners including environmental engineers, scientists, and environmental managers. Among the users of the Phase 5.3 Model are the Chesapeake watershed states and local governments, consultants, river basin commissions, and universities. Development and application of the model are described, as well as key scenarios ranging from high nutrient and sediment load conditions if no management actions were taken in the watershed, to low load estimates of an all-forested condition.

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